Thursday, December 21, 2006

Creating more victims: Part Four

Today we bring you part four of a ten-part series. Based on the groundbreaking report Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind, this series was prepared with the assistance of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights and is running in conjunction with the holiday season. Special thanks to Susannah Sheffer, who is making it possible to share these stories with our readers.

Grace Bolden’s son Cornelius Singleton was executed in Alabama in 1992, ten years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute people who suffer from mental retardation. Cornelius’s IQ was between 55 and 65, and he was convicted of murder on the basis of a signed confession that he had been unable to read.

"Even before they arrested him, the DA said they were going to give him the death penalty, and they didn’t have any evidence to connect him with the murder," his mother Grace recalls. "Neal didn’t understand what was going on."

Neal’s death sentence and execution took an enormous toll on Grace.

She lost her house trying to pay for his defense and she suffers from ongoing physical ailments in the aftermath of the ordeal. "I was all ready to go to the prison on the night of the execution," she remembers, "but in the end I couldn’t go. I gave him life and I couldn’t stand to see them take his life."

To read Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind, go here, scroll down to near the bottom of the front page of the web site, and click on the report.

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